back Colchicum Autumnale

Synonym, - Colchicum Autumnale. Natural order. - MelanthacesB. Common name. - Meadow Saffron. Habitat.- A perennial plant growing in meadows in Germany, France and southern Europe. Preparation. - Tincture from the fresh bulbs just before blooming.

Acts upon the cerebro-spinal and ganglionic nervous systems, irritating the nerve centers and producing convulsions, cramps, neuralgia, paralytic conditions and debility. As a result of this primary action on the nervous system, Colchicum finds its most important action exerted on the periosteum and synovial membranes (especially of the small joints), on the miliary and digestive tracts, and to some extent upon the respiratory organs. The secretions of all mucous surfaces are altered and increased, and the genera,! condition throughout strikingly resembles a violent acute arthritic inflammation. Dr. Allen says (op. eit. p. 393) that "it is specially interesting to note that it produces symptoms of the acute manifestations of gotrt, quite apart from any direct modifications of the excretion of urea or uric acid. Its relief of acute gout seems to be purely a homoeopathic action. " The chief peculiarity of the drug is its tearing pains with intolerable exacerbations at night.

Mind. - Peevish; nothing satisfies him (Calc. phos., Cham., Cina.). External impressions, such as bright light, strong odors (Nux v.), contact, misdeeds of others, makes him quite beside himself.

Head.- Pressure in the head, especially in the occiput, and deep in cerebellum. Boring headache, especially over the eyes (Coloc). Creeping sensation in the forehead, and over the head (Arg. nit., Cupr.).

Eyes.- Inflammation of the eyes, dim sightedness; watering of the eyes; white spots on cornea.

Ears. - Earache with lacerating pains {Bell., Puls.). Roaring in the ears, they feel stopped up.

Nose.- Excessive acuteness of smell (Acon., Agar., Bell., Com, Hep. s., Lyc.). Sore pain in the septum. Nosebleed, evenings.

Face. - Sickly, sad, suffering expression (Ars.). Drawing, tearing pains in muscles and bones of face. Tingling in face as after being frosted (Agar.). (Edematous swelling of the face.

Mouth. - Tongue coated white {Ant. crud., Bry.,Nux v., Puls., Sulph.). Tongue heavy, stiff and insensible (Coni.). Tooth- ache with tearing pains; teeth sensitive. Inflammation of mucous membranes of mouth and throat. Profuse flow of saliva, with dryness of the throat.

Throat.- Inflammation and redness of the palate and fauces.

Stomach. - Aversion to food (Coccul.); loathing (Ant. crud., Ars.) the sight, and still more the smell of it. Great thirst, but no appetite. Eructations, with burning in the stomach {Ars.). Every motion excites or renews the vomiting; cannot sit erect {Bry.). Vomiting of food or bile {Ant. erud.). Epigastrium extremely sensitive to the touch (Bell.). The stomach feels icy cold (Camph.). Violent burning in the epigastrium {Ars., Bell., Canth., Phos., Verat. alb.).

Abdomen.- Great distension of the abdomen, as if he had eaten too much (Cinch., Lyc.). Griping pains in abdomen


(Bry., Coloc, Chel., Merc). Colic; aggravated by eating; after flatulent food; with great distension of abdomen, until diarrhoea sets in; better from bending double (Coloc).

Stool and Anus.- Very offensive flatus (Aloe, Bry., Graph.), in the evening. Spasms in the sphincter, with a shuddering over the back. Unsatisfactory urging to stool; relieved by passing flatus. Violent tenesmus (Merc, Caps.). Stools bilious; then mixed with membranous pieces; slimy and bloody; frequently orange-yellow, slimy, with bright-yellow flakes; copious yellow coating; transparent, gelatinous {Hell., Rhus tox.); very membranous mucus, relieving the colic, very foetid. Discharges contain large quantities of small, white, shreddy particles.

Urinary Organs.- Scanty discharge of dark, turbid urine, with tenesmus and burning {Canth., Caps., Merc. cor.). Dark, bloody urine, almost like ink, with strangury (Ars., Canth.). Whitish sediment in the urine (Calc. c, Canth.).

Respiratory Organs. - Difficult breathing and oppression of the chest. Night cough, with involuntary spurting out of urine (Alum., Caust., Puls.). Lacerating, tearing pains in chest.

Heart.- Violent palpitation (Acon., Ars., Bell., Spig.); with oppression. Trembling in prsecordial region with sticking pains. Anxiety and pressure in precordial region, provoking sighing; sensitive to pressure. Fullness at night when lying on the left side, with oppression as from stagnation of blood. Dull, irregular, suppressed beats of the heart, with indescribable sensation in chest. Impulse not felt and only heard with difficulty, as if at a great distance, or through a thick wall. Pulse accelerated and hard, or full and slow; slow and feeble; quick and thready; irregular; intermittent; scarcely perceptible (Acon.).

Neck and Back.- Rheumatic, tearing, drawing pains in neck and back (Puls.). Spot on sacrum feels sore and bruised as if ulcerated; very sensitive to touch.

Limbs.- Rheumatic pains in joints of fingers, toes, wrists and ankles; in shoulder joints and knees during rest, with uneasiness, in hands and feet, so that she could not bear to have her finger-joints pressed or extended from their semi-flexed condition. Joints stiff and feverish. Tearing pains in muscles and joints. Numbness and prickling of hands and feet.

Upper Limbs. - Paralytic pain in arms, so violent that he cannot hold the slightest thing firmly. Rheumatic pains in arms extending into the fingers, especially finger-joints (Bry., Caul.).

Lower Limbs. - Rheumatic pains in legs extending to toes. Cramps in the legs (Calc. c, Camph., Nux v., Sulph.). (Edematous swelling of legs and feet (Ars., Apis). Tingling in toes after being frosted (Agar.).

Generalities. - Great exhaustion and weahness, as after exertion (Ars., Bry., Cinch.). Sudden and extreme prostration (Ars., Camph., Sec. cor.). Very sensitive to slightest touch. Paralytic feeling with the pains, and real paralysis. Tearing, tensive pains, quickly changing location (Puls.).

Sleep. - Drowsiness during the day (Nux m.).

Skin. - Tingling here and there, as after being frozen (Agar.).

Fever. - Coldness and chilliness running through all the limbs down the back. Shuddering and creeping in isolated parts. At night, dry heat with excessive thirst (Acon., Ars.). Suppression of perspiration. Copious, sour sweat, sud- denly coming and going; in rheumatism.

Aggravation.- At night; from mental exertion; from rising up in bed; from motion (Bry.). Better during repose and in the open air.

Compare. - Acon., Am., Bell., Bry., Cimic, Cinch., Coccul., Merc. cor., Nux v., Op., Puls., Rhus tox., Sep., Verat. alb.

Antidotes.- Bell., Camph.. Coccul., Nux v., Spig., Puls. To large doses : Amm. caust., a few drops in sugar water.


Colchicum is of greatest use in rheumatic and arthritic conditions. Articular rheumatism, especially when shifting from one joint to another; great sensitiveness to touch; worse from motion; tearing pains, always worse at night; oedema of parts, especially hands or feet, especially small joints; very irritable and easily annoyed by external impressions, such as light, noise and strong odors; gastric symptoms. Gouty diathesis. Metastasis of gout or rheumatism to internal organs, especially the heart; chronic or sub-acute pericarditis., with hydropericardium; severe cardiac pain; heart's action weak and indistinct; pulse thread-like, scarcely perceptible; great oppression and dyspnoea. In diseases of the kidneys Colchicum is often a useful remedy. Nephritis, with dropsy, especially hydrothorax; urine black, bloody, and loaded with albumen; pain in back and sacrum. Dropsy in general when resulting from heart or kidney disease and when following as a sequela of eruptive diseases; especially dropsy of cavities and internal organs: hydropericardium; hydrothorax; hydrometra; ascites; anasarca. Often a remedy in dysentery, especially in gouty or rheumatic subjects, with stools of gelatinous or membranous mucus, or containing white, shreddy particles, and accompanied by severe tenesmus, and sometimes tempanitis. Autumnal dysentery. Typhlitis. Kheumatic iritis. Kerato-iritis, with pus in anterior chamber of the eye. Ulceration of the cornea. Opacities of the cornea. Discharges from the ears after measles. Useful in many gastric disturbances, especially gastralgia and other conditions associated with gout or rheumatism, or following suppressed gout; always nausea and disgust for food, the smell of food being especially repugnant; the latter symptom is very characteristic and liable to accompany any disease where Colchicum is indicated. Great debility is also characteristic of most diseases where Colchicum is indicated. Sometimes useful in typhoid fever when the prostration is profound, great tympanites, cadaverous expression, nausea, cold breath, restlessness, etc.

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